Master Plan

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Creating Quality Communities Together

1987 Somerset County Master Plan

The Somerset County Master Plan was adopted in 1987 and serves as a guideline for Somerset County's future.  The plan includes background data and information, and goals and recommendations pertaining to the following components: Land Use, Housing, Transportation, the Environment and Capital Facilities, the majority of which remain relevant today.  It also includes implementation strategies for each of these components, many of which have moved forward.  Several components of the plan have been updated since the adoption of the plan, or are currently being updated, as provided below.

1987 Master Plan

Housing Element

The Housing Element of the County Master Plan was originally adopted as part of the 1987 County Master Plan.  It is intended to serve as a guide for local and regional decision-makers regarding the location and design of residential development throughout the County.  The plan also encourages the appropriate investment of public and private funds in the provision of the infrastructure, facilities, services and public amenities needed to create healthy, safe, vibrant neighborhoods. Although the majority of the plan’s goals and implementation strategies remain relevant today, an update of the plan is currently underway to reflect emerging demographic, socio-economic trends and policy and regulatory changes that have occurred since the plan was first adopted.  The Planning Board is seeking public comment on the content of the below document entitled, "Draft Somerset County Master Plan - Housing Element".  Please e-mail recommended changes and additions to: and include "comments on draft housing element" in the subject line.

County Investment Framework

The County Investment Framework (CIF) was adopted as an element of the County Master Plan in October 2014, replacing the 1987 Land Use Management Map, under the pretense that it is a living document and subject to regular updates.  The bulk of the work developing the plan was performed between 2011 & 2013.  The datasets underlying the map date back to this time.  The County Investment Framework provides the foundation for several planning initiatives underway by the County Planning Board.

Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS)

The Somerset County Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) was undertaken by the Somerset County Business Partnership through a grant from the US Economic Development Authority.  It was adopted as an element of the Somerset County Master Plan in 2014.  It contains economic development priorities and implementation strategies that support private sector investment and job growth. 

 Trends & Indicators

The Somerset County Trends and Indicators Report was adopted as a background element of the Somerset County Master Plan in 2014.  It contains data and information organized by 13 subject matter chapters ranging from housing and demographics to economic indicators and environmental data.  This report serves as a resource for land use planning, policies and investment decisions.

Circulation Plan

Somerset County's Circulation Plan Update: Making Connections  was adopted as an element of the Somerset County Master Plan in early 2012.  It addresses transportation mobility and safety improvements countywide, and includes policies and strategies for identifying and prioritizing transportation-related programs, projects, plans and initiatives.  It builds upon and reinforces the recommendations contained in the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority's "Plan 2035", and its development included an extensive community-based public outreach process. 


2000 Parks, Recreation and Open Space Plan

The County's open space planning efforts were enhanced in 1994 with the enactment of Somerset County's dedicated Open Space Trust Fund.  The 1994 Somerset County Parks, Recreation and Open Space Master Plan formalized these efforts.  The 1994 Plan was updated in 2000 through a joint effort of the County Planning Board and the Park Commission, and was adopted as an element of the County Master Plan at that time.  The Plan contains information on land acquisition, recreation programs, facility improvements and administrative and planning initiatives. The Plan proposes a goal of preserving 20,500 acres.  An update of this element of the County Master Plan is slated to commence during 2017.

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